Are you Depending on a Few Customers?

When Entrepreneurs start their businesses, they might depend on one or a few clients for most of their revenues. This revenue concentration scenario is understandable for the very early start-up stage of a company.

As revenues grow, the increase hopefully is from having more customers rather than only from additional business with the same clients. Diversification in the source of revenues is a critical factor in the long-term success of the company.

The risks of concentration of revenues from only a few clients or one or two big customers could be huge. If a significant portion of the revenues are derived from, say one customer, it could be devastating for the company if such business was lost, reduced dramatically, or even if there were payment problems with such receivables.

Entrepreneurs, at the appropriate stage in their company’s growth, would be well advised to diversify the sources of revenues such that dependence on a few clients does not end up hurting their business. Businesses sustained by only a few customers might be following the wrong path.

Managing revenue concentration risk is a critical component of Entrepreneurs Doing the Right Things!

Should You Tout Your Business Processes for Marketing?

 

As Entrepreneurs build the foundation for growth for their businesses, robust business processes in all functional areas are essential. It would be difficult to scale your business without such processes.

Once you build robust processes and they are working well as intended, should you tout them as a marketing tool to differentiate you from competitors?

Outsiders might not care about your robust business processes, but they do care about the quality and reliability of your services. Plan your marketing strategy accordingly.

Efficient business processes are meant to produce consistent, repeatable, reliable, continually improving  results. Focus on the results of your robust business processes to differentiate yourselves from competitors rather than the processes themselves.

Current and potential clients look for high quality and reliability from their providers, so use facts to tout those differentiators!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

 

First Impressions Matter

One can assess the quality of a company by the manners of the people working there.

When potential customers, employment applicants, vendors, bankers or other interested parties call or interact with your company, their first impressions matter. How your employees treat them then could be critical for a future relationship.

Companies whose employees treat outsiders ( and even fellow employees) with good manners, politeness, caring and concern reflect the values of the organization. Enlightened Entrepreneurs should recognize this and pay as much emphasis on the relationship side of the business as much as the product aspect of the company.

Focusing on managing initial (and then ongoing) interactions with outsiders could be a determinant of future success. Entrepreneurs should Do the Right Things by paying attention to this area of their business.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Creating Value

Entrepreneurs start businesses as they have new and unique ideas for products and services. Is this enough to make the business successful?

Success is only achieved if you create value.

Value is created when it solves someone’s need or mitigates “pain.” If your product or service does not do that, you are not creating value. One might feel good about developing a new product or service, but if it does not create value in the minds of potential customers, there is no assurance of revenues.

So, when you launch your product or service ask yourself if you are creating value for your potential customers? Are you solving an existing need or a situation causing them “pain.” If not, why should they buy your product or service?

It is possible that sometimes consumers don’t even know they have a need or pain. In that case your product or service has to be marketed such that the consumer first becomes aware of the void and then realizes that your product or service solves a problem that they were not even aware of.

Consistent success occurs only if you create value for your customers.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Published in: on February 5, 2013 at 5:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Measuring Customer Experience

A few month ago I posted a blog suggesting that Customer Service should be a strategic goal to make it a more prominent part of your Mission. One should develop SMART metrics to track the progress of improvement towards this objective.

While your metrics can be related to internal benchmarks in providing customer service – such as wait time in answering phones, que time of service lines, speed in responding to client communications, timeliness in resolving issues, errors in shipments – also consider external measures of customer satisfaction.

How does the customer feel about doing business with your company? Is the client’s experience pleasant and rewarding? Measuring your customer’s experience is a critical part of evaluating your service levels.

Are you measuring your customers’ experiences? How? Should you? Every company serves customers in different ways; thus, the measurement metrics and process need to be customized. The important step is to start that process to improve customer service in your company.

Entrepreneurs – Do the Right Things to improve your Bottom Line!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Customer Service – A Strategic Goal

Customer service is what really differentiates you from your competition. What are you doing to win that war?

Most Entrepreneurs realize the value of excellent customer service and attempt to emphasize that in their company. It is in their website and brochures and employees are instructed to treat customers right.

But, how many Entrepreneurs have adopted providing excellent customer service as one of their strategic objectives? In order to permeate the importance of customer service in your organization it has to be treated as a key goal of the company.

Like all other strategic objectives, there should be a specific SMART goal(s) related to customer service with measurable benchmarks and periodic tracking of progress. The management team should come up with ongoing programs to improve customer service and implement them throughout the company.

You can enhance customer service only if you treat it as a strategic goal.

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com

Retaining your Customers – A Different Approach

Customer and client retention should be an active focus of an Entrepreneur’s marketing strategy. Is it?

When asked as to why companies lose clients, the most common answer is “poor customer service.” Other issues are product/service quality and price. Are you aware as to why your company lost  a customer? Did you reach out to such customer/client or did they even contact you?

Do you have an active program monitoring your level of customer service and a business process of continually finding ways to enhance it? There are numerous programs that help to improve  customer service in all areas of your business.

Here is something different suggested Douglas Kolker (Summit Selling Systems, Inc.). How about sitting down with your key customers and clients and posing a question to them – what would they do if a competitor offered them a better price or an alternative product or service. Or, ask them if they would contact you if they were dissatisfied with your customer service or just leave.

If you have solid, open relationships with your key clients, you would want them to approach you with any dissatisfaction with your services or if competitors approach them. Give yourself an opportunity to retain these customers by a proactive approach rather than reacting to adverse situations. It might be too late to salvage relationships in the latter case.

Do the Right Things!

Ravi Patel

www.patelCFOservices.com